The Dr. Eric Williams Memorial Library was officially opened in Port of Spain Trinidad on Tuesday, a stone’s throw away from the area that the country’s first prime minister had declared “the University of Woodford Square.”
“This building will be a legacy for the people of Trinidad and Tobago for all time. These walls would have heard the voices of Dr. Williams…. but this being the place where a bucket was let down had to be a large bucket and a bucket with a strong bottom,” Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said in reference to Williams’s statement as he started his intensive campaign of popular education in the 1950s.
“Here is where the concept of our nationhood was discussed, crystallized and I dare say grasped. So, whatever we are, whoever we are, whatever we will become this was the beginning of that journey and therefore whatever resources we apply to making it physically pleasing and making it comfortably on the inside, let us think of the Bucco Point (in Tobago) with no school to the digital access we have now and the thousands of pieces of educational material and tell ourselves the world has not left us behind,” Rowley said.
His Jamaican counterpart, Andrew Holness, who is a guest of the Trinidad and Tobago government as the country marks its 60th anniversary of political independence from Britain, said it was important to preserve the monuments, edifices and artifacts that represent our past, our heritage and our roots from which our people will grow.
He agreed with the statement made by Prime Minister Rowley that the new environment “would marry the library with William’s history and would have created an academic shrine which is what this will become in the center of Port of Spain for persons who want to walk into the life of Eric Williams.
Holness, who said he was the first prime minister born one year after the regional leaders had agreed on the formation of the regional integration movement, said he too had at school had to read from William’s “Capitalism and Slavery.”
He said Williams was also a champion for education who spoke out against racial inequality, political imprudence, and the plantation system “which still lingers in our Caribbean societies.
Earlier, Mrs. Erica Williams-Connell said it took more than four decades following her father’s death for the library to become a reality and praised Prime Minister Rowley for his “unwavering” support.
“It has taken us 41 years to get here, back to the place where Eric Williams began his public education speeches some 67 years ago. In one year from June 21, 1955, to June 14, 1956, Eric Williams delivered a total of 137 public lectures in Trinidad and Tobago, most of them at the University of Woodford Square.”
She told the ceremony that the collection is the University of the West Indies’ largest research collection and a first of its kind.
Credit: Source link